Over 20 years, despite changes in ownership and funding sources, one thing has remained the same; when the Aquarium is ready to undertake any new and exciting expansion, Hessert is the team they call. Our relationship with the Aquarium began in 1998, and continues with the new African Penguin Exhibit, which was completed in early 2018.
RENOVATION OF THE FACILITY AND NEW ENTRANCE
Late in 1998 it became apparent to the management of the Aquarium that the 8 year old facility they were occupying needed a major renovation to enhance and improve the attendance at this facility. With support from the Delaware River Port Authority upgrade capital funding was made available to renovate a significant portion of the exhibits and to restructure their traffic patterns. A new monumental entrance area was constructed and the gift shop relocated to an area where it worked better with the circulation of the Aquarium visitors.
Hessert worked in a design/build arrangement with Venturi Scott Brown, an internationally renowned architect for design and with the management of the aquarium to design and “fast track” the new entrance.
In addition, Hessert worked with the design firm Gecko Group from elevations and simple design concept drawings to rebuild virtually the entire second floor.
One of the critical issues involved with this renovation was shutting down the main entrance of the facility. As many as 4,000 people a day entered each day. Hessert had to deal with reducing traffic to major portions of the 2nd floor area during the renovation. This required tight scheduling and coordination with the management of the Aquarium. In addition, nearly 30,000 sq. ft. of exhibit area was renovated. Numerous new major exhibits such as an aviary, a coral exhibit, and the nutrino were added.
This proved to be a successful project for the Aquarium and Hessert, increasing attendance and minimizing impact on the facility.
After successfully completing the prior projects at the aquarium, Hessert was hired by the Steiner Group as Construction Manager to facilitate the addition of a 60,000 sq. ft. expansion to the existing Aquarium.
Through Hessert’s value engineering efforts on multiple projects at the Aquarium, the Aquarium enjoys a high quality space with cost effective designs that function both from an operational perspective and from an initial cost of construction basis.
Hessert continues to work with the Aquarium’s new ownership on its current and future developments for the site.